superdaintykate: (Default)
They found him behind a tree, shivering.

Snow blanketed the mountains and dusted the desert floor.

He was beginning hypothermia. He couldn't move, couldn't do anything but stand behind the tree, and shiver, and hope he was shielded from the view of agents on the road. He was helpless as the Samaritan women undressed him, tried to warm him, spoke to him in broken spanish as they called for help.

He had fallen. That is why the coyotes left him. He had fallen, and hit his head, and was holding up the group, and they left him alone in a ravine.

He walked for a long while in the cold. A man in a truck drove up to him on the res, gave him some water and a sandwich, and told him he could stay with him for the night.

They got back to the tiny house on the reservation, and he could see there was no room for him. His new friend told him he could sleep in the cab of the truck. He was glad of the shelter.

That night, as he slept, his new friend came to him and tried to molest him. He ran. In the dark, and the cold, and the snow.

The women got to him in time, and he lived.

If he is caught again, he will be sent to prison for twenty years. There's not enough room in the prisons here for all that will be taken; they will have to be sent to California.

The new regulations are already taking their toll on the economy here. The pecan farms have no one to process their crops. They're hiring women from the prison, to work for fifty cents an hour. Good money for a prisoner. The kind of money someone would walk through the snowy desert for.
superdaintykate: (Default)
I, like every other American, have a September 11th Story.

Unlike most Americans, mine has little to do with the events in NYC on that day.

My story actually starts much earlier, say in 2000.

Or maybe back in '94. Or, if you want to get really technical, back in '89 sometime.

Anyway.

I haven't ever written about this. I didn't while it was happening because I didn't want to cause any drama. The word would get out in the community and it would cast everyone in a bad light and I didn't want to be responsible for it. And I didn't want to write about it afterwards because it was just too painful. So now I'm doing it to get it out of my system. There might be another post about it later, to shake out the last few drops, but this might take care of the urge.
Read more... )

Borders

Jul. 3rd, 2005 12:07 pm
superdaintykate: (Default)
We took a friend to sushi a few nights ago as a welcome-home gesture. We sat under a cold blast of AC and ate fresh raw fish and rice with chopsticks as our friend told us about the trip, spending a week in the Sonoran desert with other volunteers. About the man they found, delirious from the heat; how they'd doused him with water and given him medical aid, all the while keeping an eye for the Border Patrol. When he had revived somewhat, it took him six tries to mumble out his sister's phone number, so they could call her and let her know where and how he'd died. (He didn't.) About the woman who had been gang-raped in front of her husband and child: when they were done with her, the rapists took their shoes and left them, barefoot and alone. About the man whose arm was broken by the Border Patrol and then wrenched behind him into handcuffs. About skeletons and corpses picked apart by predators, and hopeless people whose feet were covered in solid sheets of blisters, going to gangrene. About the man who'd refused to let them document his story, only saying "there are things worse than dying in the desert," and then breaking into tears.

Zaar

Jun. 19th, 2005 01:57 pm
superdaintykate: (Default)
We filtered into the studio, each woman choosing her own space, and sat on the wood floor. The students from the previous class lingered, visiting, laughing, but we were quiet, introspective, shaking off the heaviness of a long day at work. I lay on the floor, feeling the pain of the muscles in my back relaxing, and took a moment to breathe, eyes closed, the mesh across my midriff firm and cool on my skin. Eyes still closed, I scooped my hands under my hair and did my crunches, my spine rolling on the floorboards.

My teacher stepped into the studio, weaving her way between our feet to the stereo. “I’ll put the music on so you can hear it while you warm up. It’s old and gorgeous.” She looked down at me. “You’ll probably understand it.”

I laughed. “Because I am also old.” But I knew what she meant as soon as I heard it. It was gorgeous, a soulful taxim, a saxophone, rising and falling, winding its way around us as we stretched, thoughtfully extending our legs, rotating our torsos, letting the weight of our heads roll to gently stretch our necks. The taxim gave way to rhythm and we got into the meat of the music. I strained to hear repetitions quickly, drawing diagrams in my head, trying to memorize the structure of the music as I heard it for the first time. The intermediate section seemed to go on forever and it would be very easy to exhaust myself trying to keep up with the drum. I started rolling my shoulders as I sat, listening, looking into the mirror but not seeing anything but the music. I needed to make sure my spine was warmed up, there was going to be some need for layered undulation near the end of the main piece, where the taxim came back in, layered over furious drums. The music ended with a drum solo that seemed to go on for days. I wondered if I had my inhaler in my dance bag.

Read more... )
superdaintykate: (Default)
The last time I dreamed about my father, he had been dead for a year. I dreamt I opened the door to my mother's house, pushed against the screen door that has been gone since I was ten; and he was standing there, outside, really real. He wore a sheepish grin, and I yelled at him as I hugged him, for making us worry. That was seven years ago.

This time, I was walking in my mother's house, at the same time of morning as it really was outside, and the winter half-light was just beginning to shorten the shadows in the hallway. The brightest light was the small bulb in the nightlight in the kitchen, and the light over the sink we would leave on when we went out for dinner. I walked from the foyer toward the kitchen, and there he was, looking as though he was leaving for work, wearing a dress shirt and a tie, and his fine-gauge black cardigan sweater. I had the impression he was heavily laden, but I only remember him carrying things that would have been normal -- his silver Thermos of coffee, his tan briefcase. I started with delight and rushed to him, and we circled each other slightly, so my back was to the kitchen and he was closer to the door. He was so happy to see me. "Where have I been," he said. And again, almost shaking his head slowly, smiling in his lopsided way, "where have I been?" It was a joke between us. I grabbed his fingers, holding his hands; strangely, his eyes, instead of brown, were cloudy green, like beach glass tumbled in sand. He looked like he wanted to tell me something, but as I felt myself begin to wake up, felt him leaving me again, all I could do was squeeze his fingers as hard as I could, and yell "I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU!" I squeezed harder, feeling my nails cut my own palms, refusing to open my eyes and lose him again. "You know, right? You know? I love you I love you I love you I love you."
superdaintykate: (jumpyrat)
I picked my way down the rock-and-cement steps, the afternoon sun slanting between my eyes and my sunglasses. My arms were full: a package of florist foam, a pair of tin snips, a utility handsaw, and seven stalks of silk flowers. The air was dry and hot, and a breeze stirred the tiny chimes on a nearby mesquite tree. I walked across the yard, gravel crunching beneath my sandals, and dropped my armload of supplies next to Mr. Wright.
Read more... )
superdaintykate: (Default)
I didn't have much, if any, exposure to "alternative" lifestyles growing up. Tucson is a stratified town; if you don't live near the University/downtown area you can avoid anything that might make you uncomfortable. I went to Catholic school. While we did have a surprising sex-ed program in junior high (three days of discussion and workshops), I don't remember anything about homosexuality or bisexuality or any sort of gender role ever being discussed. I think they wanted to make sure we knew how to stay pure, mostly. Unpregnant and aware of menstruation.

In my mind you were either gay or straight. There were a few people in high school that were rumored to be gay, but I don't remember anyone being "out", per se, and as soon as you saw them with someone of the opposite sex, the rumors were considered disproven. Same in my first few years of college: one or two women in my dorm were said to be gay, but you didn't see them dating. Rita Mae Brown and Maya Angelou were the closest I came to the discussion of "alternative" sexuality. This all seems absurd now, but I don't even remember lesbianism being a topic in my Women's Studies classes. Typical second-wave feminists, we were all about gender roles in the workplace and family, images of beauty in the media...but the bedroom was off-limits.

And then I came home to Tucson, and got into the Rocky Horror cast here. Read more... )
superdaintykate: (Default)
This morning a freak weather system left us blanketed in thick fog that stayed well into the day, not burning off until eleven-thirty.

As it was so strange and beautiful, I decided to take my break outside, and took a seat on the edge of a concrete planter with my cheese-and-peanut-butter sammich crackers and a Coke.

On opening the packet of crackers I promptly dropped one, and picked it up and set it in the planter for the birds to eat.

I ate my remaining crackers, and drank my Coke, and sat, feeling the chill breeze across my cheek. I heard a rustle in the planter next to me.

I looked over to find two tiny soft grey trembling mice, peeking out from under leaves, looking up at me with bright eyes, as if to say "you gonna eat that?" I cooed at them and they scampered away quickly, but I knew they'd be back. I picked up the cracker, broke it into smaller pieces, and tossed it closer to the brush.

Soon one of the mice came back. He picked up the largest piece in his little grey jaws and zig-zagged under the leaves back to his burrow, like a tiny retriever.

More momentous things happened at work, things I had been thinking about for a long time, but I'll wait to write about it until I can give it the attention it deserves. It's that big.
superdaintykate: (Default)
So, first, thanks to Manning and Tami for being concerned about me. Guys, that's really sweet, and I love y'all for thinking about me. I'm okay, really, I'm just, well, conflicted, I guess, or pissed off. I dunno. Maybe if I write about it a little I can understand it more. So, be warned, this one is going to be long and not terribly well-crafted. I'm adding a cut for your convenience, as the post is more for cathartic expression than entertainment.

oh, joy, catharsis. )
superdaintykate: (Default)
Today the fire in the Catalinas was much, much worse.

When I left the store at eleven to get some lunch, the wind had driven the smoke deep into the city in a filmy pink-grey haze. It was hot, in the low nineties, and you couldn't see clearly more than a block down the street. I realized I was getting dizzy because I was taking tiny shallow breaths, the way I used to when Dad would smoke his pipe around the house. I had to concentrate to make myself take air into my lungs. The air smelled like smoke. Not good, like a campfire or a barbecue; not bad, like tires; just slightly menacing, like good things burning away.

By the time I left work the smoke had lifted from the city streets and smeared into a huge cloud hanging over the mountain. It looked like the thunderheads we get for our monsoons, but wrong; it held no promise of rain, or cool breeze, or change, or growth. No promise; only marking its own existence.

Tonight, Jon and I stopped in a parking lot to look at the fire, at the rosy glow in the smoke over the mountaintop. I've often watched this mountain burn, from lightning or controlled fires or camping mishaps, and all those fires looked orange; but this one is cherry-red. As we watched, the atmosphere between us and the fire, the thick desert air, made it look as though the fire was growing brighter. Swelling. And then we saw the flames...licking the edge of the mountain, so familiar, the horizon I've known since I was a child; crawling into view. Coming down the near side, it seemed. As I watched I realized that maybe that wasn't it at all...that maybe it was that the flames were so huge, burning so brightly and fiercely, that they were taller than the tallest trees, taller than the crest of the mountain itself.
superdaintykate: (Default)
Jon and I went to Disneyland in October...ostensibly to celebrate our wedding anniversary, but mostly to see the Nightmare Before Christmas makeover of the Haunted Mansion, our favorite attraction at the Park, and the Electrical Parade,
which I had never seen. Well, mostly we made the trip to keep me from whining about not going, but I pretended it was the other reasons.

We bought our travel package from AAA on Monday, September 10th.

For the next few weeks neither of us felt like going to Disneyland. We didn't feel much like doing anything except watching the t.v. and holding each other. But we decided, after some consideration, to go ahead with our plans...we were going to be driving instead of flying, so less worries there, and Disneyland had handled previous threats of attack reasonably well. I figured if I was gonna go out, I'd rather go out there than just about anywhere...so off we went.

Other than some security checks at the gate, and an increase of uniformed police and security officers, there were not a lot of changes at the Park. The patriotic decorations usually reserved for the Fourth of July were out, so red, white, and blue bunting flew from the lampposts, the balconies on Main Street, and the decks of the Mark Twain. Had it been the Fourth of July, I doubt I would have given them a second thought. There was also a marked increase of interest in the flag retreat ceremony in front of City Hall. I'd never even known there was a flag ceremony.

I couldn't wait to see the Electrical Parade. I love parades, in general, being the sister of a guy who had been in band most of his life. We would go to see him march in the Rodeo Parade every year, my mom and dad and I. Dad and I would also visit his high school homecoming games, standing behind the bleachers in the trees so we wouldn't have to pay to get in, to watch the floats and the bands and then go home. When he hit college we'd visit Band Day at the U of A, finally getting to hear the rest of the music that we heretofore only knew the tuba parts to thanks to his hours of practice. And one of the last father-daughter things I remember doing with my dad was watching my brother march in the Alumni Band at Homecoming, back before dad had to be on oxygen much and before my brother was in a wheelchair. And the Electrical Parade...well, it's gotta be the mother of Gen X nostalgia, right? Who doesn't know the music or recognize the floats? I remembered all the coverage it got on Sunday evenings on Wonderful World of Disney, that masterful marketing tool, and I was convinced that I was The Only Person in the World who hadn't seen it. Or at least one of the last ten. For someone who dearly loves sparkly things as I do, this was a great tragedy that begged to be put right.

As parade time drew near, Jon and I staked out a spot in California Adventure to watch. As many flaws as the new park has, I give them points for the parade route. The route in DL is down Main Street, which has wide sidewalks, so unless you stake a spot on the curb an hour in advance, you will, almost guaranteed, end up three or four rows back, at least. Even with predatory tactics you can still get sharked by a pushy Dad with a toddler on his shoulders, even though he's in the front row, and end up seeing nothing but "OshKosh" and a pink corduroy butt as you hear the parade going by.

But the route through CA has several very narrow spots, some only wide enough for a row or two. So we sat down on a bridge, resting our backs on the pilasters, and stretched our lanky legs out to the route line, and waited. Jon left for a moment and came back with some of the most amazing corndogs ever invented, and we munched away happily as the last of the daylight slipped away and the parade route filled in.

Soon all the signs that the parade was near started kicking in...the overhead announcements to find seats started coming more frequently. The Events crew, flashlights in hand, made sure everyone was well behind the line. The last vendor cart full of neon bracelets and light-up spinners trundled by. The lights dimmed. We scooched up to the edge of the street.

I heard the crowd further up the parade route cheer, and I heard the faint strains of "Baroque Hoedown" start at their time-lapse speakers, and I swear my heart jumped a little. I leaned out into the street, peering into the darkness. And just at that moment, the I heard the moog fanfare, and the synth voice start up: "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls...

Disney proudly presents
our spectacular festival pageant
of nighttime magic and imagination
in thousands of sparkling lights
and electro-syntho-magnetic musical sounds...

Disney's...Electrical...Parade!"


and the music thundered out of the speakers over my head, and Blue Fairy appeared around the bend.

Damn.

Now, I am a very emotional person, as far as nostalgia goes. I cry at pretty much everything that strikes me as poignant or beautiful. Music, especially, sets me off pretty quick. Needless to say I cry a lot at Disneyland, and I knew this trip, after September, was going to be especially bad. So seeing that gorgeous Blue Fairy, her huge skirt and wings done up in lights, made me tear up something fierce. But I choked it back...I didn't want to bawl like a freak in the middle of the parade.

The parade passed right in front of us. And if those floats and costumes look cool from down the street, they are aggressively gorgeous from a foot away and twelve, fifteen feet down. To make it even better, nearly all the characters interacted with us. The mobile ones came right up to us, like the spinning snails and turtles, who hummed a snaily electronic greeting and bobbled and then spun away. Anyone who couldn't get up close made sure to smile and wave at us. I waved back like a grinning idiot and clapped along with the crowd to the music. All the old-timers were there: the steam train and drum head with the parade logo on it, only slightly altered, with "Main Street" replaced with "Disney's", and Mickey and Minnie and Goofy heading up the crew. Alice, being bratty and British on top of a huge mushroom, with ladybugs and butterflies and a huge caterpillar with jillions of blinking lights making up his trotting legs. Cinderella in a glimmering pumpkin coach, and Prince Charming, and their courtiers dancing under a glowing canopy next to Big Ben. Peter Pan and Hook fighting on a dazzling pirate ship, Tink watching from the crow's nest, with Smee paddling furiously behind. Dumbo and his circus train and the huge calliope belching steam into the crowd. Snow White and the dwarves and mining cars full of glowing jewels. Pete riding high atop the neck of his dragon, Elliot. Then the last float went by, a big patriotic number with flags and fireworks and an enormous eagle, with "To Honor America" written on it, surrounded by fetching dancers in little colonial outfits, white stockings and breeches and tricorn hats, Rockette-style, all in red and white and blue and gold. I watched it go by, watched it go down the street and heard the music fade out and the lights come up.

And I looked at Jon and just lost it. Deep, shuddering sobs, right there in California Adventure. Poor Jon could only hold me and tell me it would be all right. He kept asking me, "What's wrong, Angel?" My first instinct was to give my stock answer when I feel that way, and I told him, "I miss my dad." But that wasn't quite it. And as I stood there, sobbing in his strong arms, the lights of the rides reflected in the lagoon behind us, with the crowd going their merry way without giving us a second glance, I realized what it was.

The parade, of course, brought back a lot of memories from my childhood. Sitting in front of the television in our living room on Sunday, Dad lying beside me on the carpet. I could smell the pot roast we'd had for dinner and could see how Dad would lay out his pipe and his tobacco pouch and his tamper, just so, in front of him there on the floor. It reminded me of the Bicentennial, which I remember pretty well for having been six. I remembered watching Carter's inaugural parade on television with my mom, trying to see which little marching speck was my brother. I remember watching the fireworks on the Fourth with my dad. I remembered what life was like twenty-five years ago.

And then suddenly, I remembered what life was like not yet two months before. And what had happened.

I felt like I had grown up twice.

The next night, we watched the parade again. Jon disappeared just before it started and came back with a light-up medallion of my very own, that blinks "Disney's -- Electrical -- Parade" over and over, and I put it around my neck and wore it the rest of the night. That night, Pete stopped right in front of us and made that whole huge dragon disappear with an electronic snort. And when the Honor America float passed, we got up and followed it, right behind the eagle, hand in hand, all the way to the end.
superdaintykate: (Default)
I've been looking forward to the next few days as I will be off from work and can do some writing...I thought I could take the opportunity to update my Journal. Then, lo and behold, new material drops in my lap as I drive home from work.

I picked the hubby up from work and was Incredibly Hungry, so I decided to stop for some Taco Bell before heading home.

There was a lady in the drive-through as we pulled up. She was one of those older-boomer types, prolly in her late fifties, and was leaning out of her car window and talking animatedly at the order panel. I swear, she looked like she was having a conversation with a long-lost pal, and all she was doing was ordering some damn encha-rito-lada-ditos. She put a lot of thought into the order, too. I could tell. It might have been the way she kept saying "hmm" and cocking her head.

So she finally pulls up to the window and I place my order and pull up behind her, and she is chatting up the Taco Bell Guy. I mean, really hardcore, like she was running for office. We watched her, incredibly amused by her Bush/Cheney bumpersticker and apparent wonderment at the world of fast food. The Taco Bell Guy looked very much like he was cornered at a party by someone he figured he had to be polite to. He had that faux-sincere, listen-to-what-is-being-said-while-checking-the-room-for-an-exit kinda look. All the time, of course, Jon and I are mocking this woman from our car. But you knew that.

Then I pull up to the window and the Taco Bell guy waves away my money and hands me my food. "That lady ahead of you paid for you, too. And she left you this card."

The card is a beige business card with the following message:
This Meal Is On Us!
We hope that this small
gift brings a smile to
your day. It's just a
simple way of saying,
"God loves you - no
strings attached."
Let us know if we
can be of more
assistance.

At the bottom rests a smiley face, with slightly creepy sideways-oval eyes that make it look alien and wrong.

Dude, god bought me tacos.

The Taco Bell guy didn't understand why I thought this was unspeakably funny.

Here's why I love Jon: he immediately rolled down his window, leaned out, and yelled "SUCKER!" at the sky.

I suppose had I any presence of mind I would have given the guy my money anyway and told him to apply it to the next order behind me, without the proselytizing.

Also, nuts to this lady for doing a good deed at Taco Bell. You'd think the Word would be worth more than $3.26. You wanna impress me, lady? Have god buy me a steak and a Bloomin' Onion.
superdaintykate: (Default)
Most important item on the agenda: happy birthday to Ninja and Washu! Wohoo!

On to updates...
This weekend I took Jon up on his XMas offer and ran away to Flagstaff with him. One of my Jersey pals asked, "What's in Flagstaff?" Well, good eats, trees, the possibility of snow, and crows that could carry you off to feed on ya.
Really? Crows that can carry you off? )
superdaintykate: (Default)
My friend Bas took a user-interface course, in which they studied the design of products from VCR's to airplanes. At the same time he got a car with a puzzling design feature.

The feature was a toggle switch -- up/down -- in the center of the climate panel. The illustration next to the switch was a sideways seated figure. When the switch was in one position, a blue arrow lit up. On the other position, a white arrow lit up.

It took him a while to figure out the darn thing was a fresh-air intake.

This made me remember something about the car Jon drove in college. Everything was straightforward on the panel, save one button. An exclamation point.

Now, this was a BMW. I couldn't imagine anything that would make German engineers excited enough to include an exclamation point on their panel.

I puzzled quietly over this thing for months, as Jon and I drove around together. Finally, I gave in and asked him what it was.

He turned the damn thing ninety degrees and said, "What? The cigarette lighter?"

He still thinks it's funny, the bastard.
superdaintykate: (Default)
For the last few days I've kept remembering a woman I met a few weeks ago.

I had worn a black armband to work on our National Day of Remembrance. I'd noticed that no one else had worn ribbons, so I asked the manager on duty if I could take a few minutes from work to run to the fabric store to buy some, to make tokens for everyone.

The fabric store was busy, as usual, but a small crowd was circulating around the racks of ribbon. Women would drift past, scanning for something else, and see a reel of blue with dots, or red and white stripes, and suddenly they'd snap awake and grab it and carry it with them, like some sort of totem. Some women would stand before the racks and just touch the red, the white, then thoughtfully tuck their hair behind their ears, squinting, as if they were trying to remember a face in a photo.

A woman was browsing next to me. I commented that it seemed we all had the same idea. She nodded. She had a tiny flag, like one a child waves at a parade, tucked into her shoelace.

"They tried to tell me I couldn't wear this," she said, regarding her pointed toe, a pudgy Degas dancer in pull-on shorts. "But I told them I could. I looked it up on the Internet. And if they make me take it off I don't know what will happen." She chuckled, but it was strained around the edges.

I thought about it as we gazed at the racks together. She really shouldn't have worn the flag on her shoe. It was, at the very least, displaying the colors where they could get dirty. I wondered what she had looked up. And how much she had been able to read before she started to cry.

I grabbed reels of red, white, and blue, and headed for the counter. I was arranging them thoughtfully in my hands as I waited in line. And I heard her repeat what she'd said, in exactly the same way, to another customer, who murmured assent.

And there we all stood. The crafty representatives of our nation's grief. Buying ribbon for ourselves, our co-workers. Buying "Americana" print quilting fabric out of the clearance bin to make mailbox covers. Red and blue calico to tear into strips and fly from car antennas. Red and blue buttons to string on children's shoelaces.

Soon after, the Onion published their 9.11 coverage, including the story "Not Knowing What Else To Do, Woman Bakes American-Flag Cake". She was probably in line behind me.

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